Monthly Archives: September 2006

New evidence for Apple’s iPhone?

Gizmodo: Normally, an iTunes update wouldn’t be much news. But this one has lots of mentions of a “mobile phone” that can play video and display pictures. As far as we know, the ROKR and RAZR V3i can’t do that.

Here’s a taste of the strings:
“4301.022″ = ” ^0 was not copied because the video format is not supported by the mobile phone ^1 .”; “4301.043″ = “Are you sure you want to manually manage music and videos on your mobile phone? You will need to manually eject your mobile phone before it can be disconnected safely.”; “4301.045″ = “Are you sure you do not want to manually manage music and videos on your mobile phone? All existing content on the mobile phone ^1 will be replaced with content from your iTunes library.”;

Significance of this? Either an iPhone is coming soon, or new phones that support iTunes video, music and pictures is on the horizon.

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Sharp previews 1080p LCD range for UK market

AVZombie: Sharp has previewed its Aquos Full HD LCD screens for the UK market. Four models are featured in the brand’s LC-XD1E range, ranging from 37-inch models, to 42-, 46- and 52-inch. The sets use 1920 x 1080 glass and can accept a 1080p native signal.
All the models have a high-gloss black finish and a variety of new picture improvement technologies. The LC-46XD1E and LC-52XD1E (pictured below) promise 4 millisecond response times and 2,000:1 contrast (10,000:1 if you use the Dynamic Contrast Enhancement mode). The smaller LC-42XD1E and LC-37XDE1E models have a 6 millisecond response time and 1,200:1 contrast.

For greater colour fidelity, the screens include Sharp’s four-wavelength backlight system, which includes an additional crimson red as well as the standard RGB colours. This is said to make for more vibrant reds and better skin tones.
All the models have Freeview tuners and two HDMI inputs.

All the screens originate from Sharp’s new 8th generation manufacturing plant in Kameyama, Japan.

Sharp 8th gen

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BenQ Siemens Oxyon: iPodish Slider Phone

Nothing to see on the BenQ Siemens website. However, Gizmodo is bringing the news about the Oxyon, a slider phone that looks like a clone of the Apple iPhone (which – mind you – doesn’t exist yet).
Gizmodo: Not content to let LG and their Chocolate phone hog the title of world’s sexiest phone, BenQ-Siemens has been quietly working on a prototype of a new device to wow the world. The fruit of their efforts? This Oxyon phone with a white, iPod-like finish and a slide out dial pad. Wow indeed.
Ignoring potential usability issues with a vertical dial pad, the phone’s features seem pretty top notch. It’s got a VGA display, 3-megapixel camera, MP3/AAC/WMA/WAV playback and a microSD slot for expandability. It won’t be released until sometime in 2007.


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Xbox 360 HD DVD drive in low price shock

Sony cutting its price for the PS3? We can do better, Microsoft must have thought.
AVZombie: Microsoft has used its XO6 event in Barcelona to announce that the HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360 will retail in the UK for just 130 pounds (or 199 euros). It will ship with an HD version of Peter Jackson’s King Kong, as well as an Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.
The retail price is way below what many pundits were predicting and will send shockwaves through the Blu-ray camp, which is still expecting the PS3 to be the main driver for HD packaged media sales.

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Sharp brings LCD with triple vision

57 channels, and nothing on, the Boss sings. So why would anyone ever need a TV with triple vision? Apparently Sharp has a clue.

Today Sharp announced they had developed the world’s first LCD panel that allows the viewing of three different images on one screen at the same time.

As the press release states: Imagine, for example, people taking a drive in a van. The driver uses a car navigation system screen, the person in the passenger seat checks out tourist sites and restaurants, and the person in the back seat enjoys a movie on DVD, all in full-screen view. It’s truly one LCD that plays three roles at once.
Triple Vision demonstrated

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Blu-ray cost ‘non-existent’ says Sony

Gamesindustry: Sony’s Phil Harrison has insisted the decision to include Blu-ray functionality in the PlayStation 3 has not burdened the console with ‘unnecessary cost’ (…) and that it is essential to the development of next-gen software.

“There’s this sort of misunderstanding that the Blu-ray disc player for movies is somehow burdening the console with unnecessary cost,” said Harrison. “That is completely not true. We put our Blu-ray disc functionality in the console purely from a game design point of view.”

“Once we had that storage capacity on Blu-ray disc, adding the movie playback functionality was extremely cost-effective, [the cost] is actually non-existent,” added Harrison.

The PlayStation 3 is due to launch in the US and Japan in November, with a European launch next March.

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Rush for dot-mobi domain names

Yesterday, on the first day registration was open to everyone, more than 75.000 dot-mobi websites were registered. Dot-mobi is the extension for websites restricted to mobile devices and sites providing services for them on the Mobile Web.

Few web pages are designed to be accessed via mobile devices. Many sites can’t be displayed on tiny cell phone screens, and most would take a much longer time to download than on a PC. The .mobi top-level domain name, with universal standards and protocols, should help solve these issues.


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GPS handsets to overtake in-vehicle systems: report

Over 300 million GPS receivers are expected to ship in 2011, up from 40 million in 2005, according to an ABI Research report.  GPS-enabled handsets will beat in-vehicle GPS navigation receivers in both shipment count and revenue, the report said.

Growth will result from mass uptake of navigation services by mobile subscribers using GSM handsets.

“As that trend develops, the fastest regional growth, which until now has been seen in North America and parts of Asia, will shift to Europe,” ABI said.

Garmin, TomTom, Magellan, Thales, Trimble, Rockwell Collins, Leica and Honeywell will benefit from the increase, ABI said.

Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites will boost the industry too.  The more satellites in the sky, the greater availability of the signal, and the more accurate the location data it provides.

Source: Satellite Week Magazine

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3,000,000th LCD from Sony

Digital World Tokyo: Sony is due to produce its 3 millionth made-in-Japan LCD TV on Wednesday. The landmark is being reached just over five months since the factory produced its 2 millionth LCD TV set and less than two years since it started LCD TV production.

The pace of production is testament to the rapid growth in the LCD TV market that has come from consumer demand sparked by lower prices.

The Sony factory, in Inazawa near Nagoya in central Japan, began producing Trinitron televisions in 1969 but production of CRT models ended in late 2004 and the facility was retooled in four months to handle LCD TV production.

When production restarted on March 3, 2005, the factory was responsible for producing LCD TVs for all regions but today it produces models for Japan, other Asian markets and Australia and New Zealand.

The increasing popularity of LCD TVs around the world has pushed Sony to spread production of LCD TV sets between Inazawa and factories in Mexico and Spain. Last week Sony said it would open a second LCD TV plant in  Slovakia.

However Inazawa remains a “mother factory” and produces partly-assembled TV sets for the factories in Spain and Mexico at which country-specific components, such as power supplies and tuners, are added to result in a finished TV set.

Sony's Inazawa Factory, Japan

This year is the first in which Sony expects LCD TV shipments to surpass those of CRT sets. Including sets sourced from OEM makers, Sony shipped 2.8 million LCD sets in the year to the end of March 2006 and expects to ship 6 million in the current fiscal year. CRT shipments are expected to be 5.5 million sets this year and projection TV set shipments to be 1.8 million.

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Swiss company develops GPS chip with acquisition time of under 1 second

DigiTimes: Swiss engineering firm u-blox has announced a generation of GPS and Galileo-ready single chips and chipsets featuring an acquisition performance of less than one second.

The new chips feature SuperSense -160dBm acquisition and tracking sensitivity, power needs of less than 50mW and a footprint smaller than 100mm2, making their receivers ideal for PDAs, personal navigation devices, cameras, cell phones, media players and other battery-operated portable devices.

The chips’ software contains a jamming suppression mechanism that automatically filters signals from interfering sources.

Engineering samples will be available in the first quarter of 2007.

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Global TV industry altered by Japan, China digital standards

DigiTimes: The digital TV terrestrial broadcast standard currently includes three types – Europe’s DVB-T, America’s ATSC and Japan’s ISDB-T. Following Brazil’s adoption of the ISDB-T standard and news that China will be developing its own, signficant changes are foreseen in the global TV industry, according to research firm WitsView Technology. This is particularly relevant for manufacturers possibly seeking a standard platform for a multi-standard era.

The DVB-T format is currently adopted by Europe, along with Taiwan, India, Australia and South Africa. One of its characteristics lies in its mobile receiving abilities. The ATSC standard emphasizes the broadcast of high quality images, where South Korea, Canada, Mexico and the US follow this format.

Japan’s ISDB-T format integrates the mobile receiving capabilities and high definition (HD) broadcasts into one platform. In the past, Japan was unsuccessful in exporting its ISDB-T standard to other countries. This left its other two counterparts in carving up the remaining share of the pie.

Relevant TV makers were thus required to develop TVs that were ATSC or DVB-T compatible. However, in light of the recent actions by Brazil and China, the global terrestrial broadcasting DTV industry is now transitioning to a multi-standard era.

Brazil is the fifth most populous country in the world, where its annual TV demand amounts to ten million sets. Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay had already revealed they would follow in Brazil’s footsteps.

China made an official announcement at the end of August that it was very keen in forming its own system. With the 2008 Beijing Olympics fast approaching, a standard has to be finalised for the games to be successfully delivered in HDTV content. At the end of August, China finally approved standard number GB 20600-2006 –framing structure, channel coding and modulation for DTV terrestrial broadcasting system. It was actually an integration of both the DMB-T and ADTB-T standard. However, as news reports have revealed that the two systems are inherently different, more money will be needed in solving the technical hurdles.

The reason in why China strived to develop its own system can be delineated by two main factors. The first is to avoid the TV royalty payments while the second lies in improving its own TV industry’s competitiveness. China is now the world’s largest TV maker with over 80 million TVs produced a year. Its domestic market demand takes up roughly 40 million while the other half is exported to other countries. Currently, China has approximately 400 million operational TV sets. Assuming its analog TV broadcast is terminated in 2015, there is nearly an eight year time period, where about 500 million TV sets await to be upgraded into DTVs annually.

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Nokia teams up with David Bowie Nokia launches international community of music connoisseurs – the Music Recommenders.

Forty leading independent music stores from around the world are working with Nokia to create unique and customizable music recommendations. Music Recommenders brings together great new music across continents and genres, keeping music enthusiasts in touch with the latest tracks as well as helping them discover new artists. (…)

As a fanatical explorer and discoverer of music from around the world, David Bowie is taking the role of music ‘godfather’. He will be contributing to Music Recommenders every month through features and podcasts, sharing his most exciting discoveries (…).

Users can freely browse the music, search for music according to recommender, genre or style, listen to music clips and read weekly updates, artist interviews, city music guides and even information on the stores and recommenders themselves. Once registered, subscribers can receive an instant playlist of 30 second samples tailored specifically to their tastes and purchase the tracks they like. (…)

Music Recommenders will be available in a beta version starting in November 2006.

“We’ve searched around the world to find the most passionate and credible music specialists. The stores featured on Music Recommenders have the experts who are supporting and breaking new artists,” commented Tommi Mustonen, Director, Multimedia, Nokia. “And we’re thrilled to have David Bowie – a musical icon – sharing his own passion for what’s new in music. We are able to make a wealth of knowledge, passion and foresight available on a global scale – something that has never before been attempted.” (…)

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